WHEREAS, One hundred fifty years ago, on March 2, 1853, President Millard Fillmore signed legislation that created the Washington Territory; and
WHEREAS, Washington, as a territory and state, was settled by people who traveled across the continent to explore the land and begin new lives, and who joined the Native Americans who lived here for centuries before; and
WHEREAS, Those early explorers and tribes of Native Americans ignited the populist spirit that defines Washingtonians today, and their legacy should be celebrated; and
WHEREAS, Our state laws today reflect the strong sense of individualism held by our founders, as manifested in the initiative and referendum processes, and the blanket primary election system; and
WHEREAS, The state of Washington, its early settlers and the indigenous people of the region should be celebrated and commemorated in the grand manner befitting this one hundred fiftieth anniversary of Washington's charter as a part of the United States.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Gary Locke, Governor of the state of Washington, by virtue of the power vested in me, do hereby create the Washington Territorial Sesquicentennial Commission and direct the following:
- Secretary of State Sam Reed shall serve as chair of the Commission, and First Lady Mona Locke shall serve as honorary chair of the Commission. The Secretary of State shall be responsible for coordinating the activities of this group, and providing necessary staff support.
- The chair shall appoint individuals to serve on the Commission who represent a wide cross-section, including Native American tribes, and seek out organizations that played a pivotal role in the history of the Washington Territory.
- The Commission shall make recommendations and oversee the commemoration of our state's territorial heritage in order to properly observe the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the Territory of Washington through statehood (March 2, 1853 to November 11, 1889).
- Local communities are encouraged to take part in the commemoration by recognizing the historic events that led to the creation of the Washington Territory, and that took place during territorial times (November 1852 - November 1889).
- The chair of the Commission may establish a smaller working group to manage the day-to-day operations for the events and coordinate the recommendations of the full Commission.
- Communities, historic organizations, tribal groups and others are asked to reflect on the era and develop ways to commemorate Washington in three facets: past, present and future.
- This executive order shall take effect immediately.